BfW is a game that relies on save-scumming too much

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TrashMan
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BfW is a game that relies on save-scumming too much

Post by TrashMan » February 19th, 2019, 4:22 pm

It simply is. RNG is too much of a factor and there is little to no room for error, since your units can die too easily and too fast, so you can't even retreat them.

Naturally, it also depends on campaign to a point, and some add-ons/campaigns feel like they were made by masochists. To illustrate the point, imagine a scenario where you get lvl1 units and have to fight trough a horde of lvl2 or 3 undead, inside a cave. The undead get 4-5 strength 10 attacks per unit and even your lvl2 units die from a single enemy attacking them in RNG doesn't like you. Let's also add terrible terrain and little money.
This, combined with the fact that you NEED to do good, otherwise the next mission becomes way harder, makes many campaigns an excercise in frustration.

How to fix this without massive re-works in the core mechanics?
Perhaps balancing attack damage and HP better, so that 1 turn kills are impossible? This might turn units into HP sponges, but that is preferable to the current state of affairs.
Making sure lvl2 and lvl3 units are purchesable, so that loosing them doesn't f*** you up as bad?
I really don't know.
What I do know is that it doesn't feel like I'm playing a strategy game. Since the entire setup doesn't really allow for much strategy to begin with.
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Re: BfW is a game that relies on save-scumming too much

Post by josteph » February 19th, 2019, 5:42 pm

It's not easy to distinguish a badly balanced scenario from a scenario that's difficult by design. Sometimes a scenario is designed to be not winnable except with losses, potentially even great losses. At other times, a scenario may be balanced badly to the point that it's not winnable without save-loading. If you find such a scenario, please report it as a bug to the campaign author...but before that, please consider uploading your replay to the forums, since there may be a winning strategy that hadn't occurred to you.

Is there a specific campaign and scenario that you are trying to beat?

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Re: BfW is a game that relies on save-scumming too much

Post by Aldarisvet » February 19th, 2019, 8:27 pm

For the wesnoth player since 2008, his post looks like not less than a trolling. Really it took 10+ years to come to such a conclusion?
I think that every campaign creator must show his replays of his campaign playing on hardest difficulty. So there would be no doubts if the campaign is balanced.
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Re: BfW is a game that relies on save-scumming too much

Post by shevegen » February 19th, 2019, 10:37 pm

> For the wesnoth player since 2008, his post looks like not less than a trolling. Really it took 10+ years to come to such a conclusion?

It would be dangerous to assume much at all from the years.

For example, I am even older, probably also older than many others here. I have not been active in wesnoth for many, many years.

So if I were to post something, would you dismiss it because "it took him 50000 years" to come to any opinion? Why would it be important to you or anyone else how long anything took? Plus, you don't know how long it took him either - it could have been a recent observation and he may have been inactive before that. So no, I think age/time is a very incorrect assumption to want to put forward.

Note that I in no way say that I am in agreement or disagreement with his comments - I am merely commenting on the age/time remark by Aldarisvet.

> I think that every campaign creator must show his replays of his campaign playing on hardest difficulty. So there would be no doubts if
> the campaign is balanced.

Commenting on this soon.

> It's not easy to distinguish a badly balanced scenario from a scenario that's difficult by design. Sometimes a scenario is designed
> to be not winnable except with losses, potentially even great losses. At other times, a scenario may be balanced badly to the point
> that it's not winnable without save-loading. If you find such a scenario, please report it as a bug to the campaign author...but before
> that, please consider uploading your replay to the forums, since there may be a winning strategy that hadn't occurred to you.

Some campaigns are hard and harder than others; others are quite impossible. And often no fun, so it makes it hard to play through.

There are some winning strategies; but some are totally non-obvious.

I remember a cave scenario where there are lots of factions actively fighting and impeding your progress and movement of your
troops.

There is a solution in the wesnoth wiki which makes sense, but I could not pull it through. And I gave up on that because it was
ABSOLUTELY NO FUN. (It involved using footpads and such with high dodge ratio and fighting in a way to allow movement
without getting impeded). It was still very hard if not impossible.

I think certain scenarios are not just hard, even on super hard, but outright impossible - or require really illogical thought processes.

Some campaigns are designed like that too. An example I can think of is that campaign where you have to intercept a messenger
on a horse - but that messenger actually has a larger/stronger army than the army stationed in the castle ... :P So that makes not
a lot of sense to me, if you were to defend a castle, you send most of your men outside to "CALL FOR HELP" - elite fighters who
would be better defending a castle?

There are lots of small inconsistencies like that in some campaigns. It depends a lot on the campaign at hand and the creator.
Some people are much better than others at creating campaigns. My favourite ones are still the arabian night in style, with special/unique
abilities for heroes. I like these more than the mainline campaigns in wesnoth - it's simply more fun to have "skill paths" or skill
trees for your heroes, a bit like in warcraft 3 and DOTA and so forth.

By the way, TrashMan specifically referred to caves, and I kind of agree with him. Cave scenarios have caused a LOT more frustration
compared to many other scenarios. A lot of this has to do with massively restricted movement and often much slower movement speed too.

I much prefer any badly designed outdoor scenario with more freedom of movement. He also has a point in how a bad scenario can cause problems lateron, which is true. I don't fully agree on his premises, but I think when it comes to CAVE based scenarios, these could be improved in general. I don't agree on his "doesn't feel like I'm playing a strategy game", but when it comes to cave-based scenarios then indeed a LOT is very restricted. I think the only ones who did well were dwarves and trolls in caves. But trolls are cool in general and dwarves can be ok in open terrain too, in particular with some hills and mountains (I like the dwarves with this steadfast ability the most).

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Re: BfW is a game that relies on save-scumming too much

Post by Aldarisvet » February 20th, 2019, 8:04 am

It is obvious that it is nothing about RNG.
Many players prefer to use save-scumming instead of thinking and inventing effective tactics. My son often plays this way because he is just not patient enough to play carefully and knowingly. Many players have no idea that save-scumming is bad because in other games save&loads are normal.
Same about campaign creators. Some can test their campaigns with save-scumming because they think it is normal. But obviously these campaigns would be unbalanced.

These all can be easely cured - if both players and campaign-creators will play in the multiplayer. There you cannot save&load. You can cheat the AI in the campaign but not your human opponent in the multiplayer. And only there many players can finally understand what Wesnoth is about as a game.

Also I want to add that Wesnoth RNG system is ok. It is very much similar to the real life. Coincidence means very much in our life but in the long term everyone get what he deserves given his efforts, not a luck he gets in some moment.
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Re: BfW is a game that relies on save-scumming too much

Post by josteph » February 22nd, 2019, 1:19 pm

Aldarisvet, I agree it'd be nice to have replays of UMC scenarios. Maybe we should start a wiki page or something collecting replays by campaign and scenario (the mainline campaigns have a thread per scenario but UMC campaigns do not have so granular threads)? Or more radically, maybe we could write into the game the ability to upload a replay once you beat a scenario, but only if you beat it without save-loading. (So there would be a preference "Ask to upload replays at scenario end?" and if the player enables that, and plays through a scenario without save-loading, the game would ask for permission to upload the replay to wesnoth.org.)

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Re: BfW is a game that relies on save-scumming too much

Post by Tad_Carlucci » February 22nd, 2019, 1:29 pm

What constitutes a legal save-load? Would we need to mark the date and time of a save and consider it "legal" or "illegal" based upon some number of hours having passed? What about having to re-load a turn save because power flickered for a minute? Am I a save-scrummer because I'm out at the state park playing and there's a thunderstorm so power isn't very reliable?
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Re: BfW is a game that relies on save-scumming too much

Post by josteph » February 22nd, 2019, 2:22 pm

Let me be clear, everyone is free to play however they wish. It's none of my business whether someone else save-loads or not. If someone else want to create a repository of replays created with save-loading, they're welcome to do so. My idea is to create a repository of replays that were created without "rewinding", because that's a style of playing that many players like.

We could say that any load makes the game ineligible for uploading. Or we could use https://wiki.wesnoth.org/PersistenceWML to track progress through a scenario.

Note that whether a replay is eligible should not depend on whether it was a victory or a defeat. Replays of defeats will be good to have.

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Re: BfW is a game that relies on save-scumming too much

Post by Aldarisvet » February 22nd, 2019, 4:21 pm

There are two types of reloads. One is of that kind: you missed to kill a enemy unit because, for example, a mage failed to finish a badly wounded unit by missing three times in a row. Some players often became angry about it and will reload. But in fact such things must happen sometimes. All multiplayer players know about this. By reloading in such situations you shifts luck statistics better for you and against the AI. This was discussed million times.
The other case of reload - if you made a mistake that has nothing with the probability. For example, you missed that your wounded hero can be reached by the enemy unit. So you can reload and put your hero to another place, that is unreachable for the enemy unit. I think that such reloads are ok, but you still must carefully watch that such reloads do not make the statistics better for you.

And about replays database - as an author of UMC campaign I would eager to have something like this. Just no reloads at all I think is too harsh filter. I think that 10% luck filter cap (inflicted-taken) would be enough to get good played replays.
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Re: BfW is a game that relies on save-scumming too much

Post by beetlenaut » February 24th, 2019, 2:56 am

TrashMan wrote:
February 19th, 2019, 4:22 pm
BfW is a game that relies on save-scumming too much. It simply is. RNG is too much of a factor
I've beaten all the mainline campaigns on the highest difficulty level without save-scumming, so you can't say that your statement is "simply true". It's not true for everyone. If you do have to rely on getting good rolls on the RNG, you are playing at too high a difficulty level. If it's just one particular scenario that is frustrating, you can adjust the difficulty temporarily.

You can use a UMC feedback thread to suggest allowing high-level units to be purchasable or balancing the units so that one-turn kills are impossible because that's all up to the creator. Complain to them about being a sadist. You should also be able to request that they upload a replay of themselves (or their friend) beating the scenario at the same difficulty you are playing at.
josteph wrote:
February 22nd, 2019, 1:19 pm
Maybe we should start a wiki page or something collecting replays by campaign and scenario
It's a good idea. The saveloads are no problem either if we just make a luck cap like Alderisvet proposed. (However, 10% for a whole scenario is way too permissive. Even on single long turn, 10% is suspicious. I would require 1% or 2%.) The biggest problem I see is that replays break a lot, so they would have to be continuously tested and removed if they are broken. Maybe it would work though. We could try it out with just a sticky forum thread. We definitely don't need replays to everything, just the tricky scenarios (Siege of Elensefar comes to mind). Maybe players should request replays in the thread. The first post would have to keep a running list of links to the actual replays to make it useful. I would think that only the highest difficulty levels should be considered, because you can always just lower the difficulty like I said above. I'm not really willing to maintain such a thing, but I bet someone would be able to take it on.
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Re: BfW is a game that relies on save-scumming too much

Post by The_Gnat » February 24th, 2019, 6:21 am

Aldarisvet wrote:
February 22nd, 2019, 4:21 pm
There are two types of reloads.
I agree with your assessment, I personally believe that many people do play the game in a save-load based approach which can throw off balance. At the same time I personally prefer (when playing a campaign) to have a fun time and will usually play with at least one save/load per turn just because it is funner like that, not because I had to do so.

However, at the same time I enjoy playing MP often and when testing my campaigns and scenarios I always play through on hard without loading at all because otherwise it is not a correct assessment. So obviously it is not mutually exclusive to do one or the other.

I believe people should play however they have the most fun (but of course should be intelligent enough to not throw-off their scenario design because of that).
Aldarisvet wrote:
February 22nd, 2019, 4:21 pm
And about replays database - as an author of UMC campaign I would eager to have something like this. Just no reloads at all I think is too harsh filter. I think that 10% luck filter cap (inflicted-taken) would be enough to get good played replays.
I would be quite interested in seeing this
TrashMan wrote:
February 19th, 2019, 4:22 pm
It simply is. RNG is too much of a factor and there is little to no room for error, since your units can die too easily and too fast, so you can't even retreat them.
In regards to your original post I would say that wesnoth it is clearly a RNG game. Luck is by definition a factor in such and strategy and tactics combined with luck determine the outcomes. That is very true of many video games and the only difference is that this game is easy to save-load and therefore makes save-loading a easy alternative.

However, regardless of whether save scumming is an easy way to win I do not agree with your holistic assessment because I believe that many campaigns and scenarios (in fact I would say most campaigns and scenarios) are possible to win without considerable frustration or save-load on the easy difficulty level. The game it self is not flawed it just is a little unpredictable, and when playing on hard that unpredictability can disrupt even a good strategy (or destroy a mediocre one).

I have played all the campaigns on easy without save load a while ago when I first started wesnoth and I had no problem at all with most of them (UTBS is a bit hard for a new player even on easy). While some people do make their campaigns too difficult I believe in general wesnoth is not designed incorrectly it is merely designed a certain way, one which are perfectly justified in saying you do not prefer.

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Re: BfW is a game that relies on save-scumming too much

Post by Spirit_of_Currents » February 24th, 2019, 11:41 am

I think using debug mode to give yourself more gold is a better way to cheat than save-scumming.
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Re: BfW is a game that relies on save-scumming too much

Post by Konrad2 » February 25th, 2019, 8:35 am

TrashMan wrote:
February 19th, 2019, 4:22 pm
It simply is. RNG is too much of a factor and there is little to no room for error, since your units can die too easily and too fast, so you can't even retreat them.

What I do know is that it doesn't feel like I'm playing a strategy game. Since the entire setup doesn't really allow for much strategy to begin with.
I can't help but disagree. Because if it were true, then there wouldn't be players like me who beat the hard difficulties without savescumming, using strategy instead.

beetlenaut wrote:
February 24th, 2019, 2:56 am
It's a good idea. The saveloads are no problem either if we just make a luck cap like Alderisvet proposed. (However, 10% for a whole scenario is way too permissive. Even on single long turn, 10% is suspicious. I would require 1% or 2%.)
This sounds like you are thinking very large scale scenarios.
Even 10% wouldn't permit all of my replays and 2% would only permit a small fraction of my replays. :/

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Re: BfW is a game that relies on save-scumming too much

Post by TrashMan » February 25th, 2019, 1:52 pm

Aldarisvet wrote:
February 19th, 2019, 8:27 pm
For the wesnoth player since 2008, his post looks like not less than a trolling. Really it took 10+ years to come to such a conclusion?
I think that every campaign creator must show his replays of his campaign playing on hardest difficulty. So there would be no doubts if the campaign is balanced.
I've been on a long hiatus, and partially because of this. So much RNG was killing the fun. Hence why I now use the noRNG mod which drew me back in.
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Re: BfW is a game that relies on save-scumming too much

Post by TrashMan » February 25th, 2019, 2:01 pm

Aldarisvet wrote:
February 20th, 2019, 8:04 am
It is obvious that it is nothing about RNG.
Many players prefer to use save-scumming instead of thinking and inventing effective tactics. My son often plays this way because he is just not patient enough to play carefully and knowingly. Many players have no idea that save-scumming is bad because in other games save&loads are normal.
Same about campaign creators. Some can test their campaigns with save-scumming because they think it is normal. But obviously these campaigns would be unbalanced.
You can be as carefully as you want and still loose badly. Place your units in best spots (70% defense), enemy has to attack you from a bad tile, your units has good armor against his weapon, etc..
It's really bad when you loose loyal units or heroes that way.

Powerful hero units that you care for and expendable chaff don't work well together. The loss of such powerful units is either terrible and can cripple you later or or it doesn't matter.

These all can be easely cured - if both players and campaign-creators will play in the multiplayer. There you cannot save&load. You can cheat the AI in the campaign but not your human opponent in the multiplayer. And only there many players can finally understand what Wesnoth is about as a game.
Except I don't care about Multiplayer and disagree with the notion.
Also I want to add that Wesnoth RNG system is ok. It is very much similar to the real life. Coincidence means very much in our life but in the long term everyone get what he deserves given his efforts, not a luck he gets in some moment.
Unfortunately, that is not how life works.
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